The Washington Post's Carolyn Hax received this letter from a troubled Manhattanite:
So I've been casually dating this guy from work. There's so much chemistry between us, he's funny and smart, and I think I'm starting to fall for him.
But something he said at dinner irked me — he made some comment about how un-sexy sweat pants are, and how if the person he's dating ever wears them, it's a "deal breaker."
Well, so far he's never seen me in sweat pants. But I wear them; they're comfortable around the house. I asked, "What if a person is feeling sick or just lounging around their apartment?" He made a grimace that said, "Still not okay." I just feel unsettled now. He does pay a lot of attention to what I wear and suggests clothes that will make me look better. Personal quirk or red flag?
Confused in Manhattan
Though Carolyn penned a perfectly wonderful response to this distressed lady, we have one of our own, because sweatpants are a topic that is dear to our hearts.
Dear Confused in Manhattan,
Unless this guy rescinds the comment (and if he truly is funny, maybe he was just being sarcastic and this was lost on you?), you have no choice but to dump him. Maybe immaturely by means of electronic communication. Because come spring, you're going to want to wear sweatpants with heels and leather vests and stuff out on the town, possibly on dates. And you will look damn sexy doing so, but if this guy can't see that now, he has no business being in your good company or engaging in verbal communication with you.
You might argue that maybe he would be fine with designer drop-crotch sweatpants by someone like Alexander Wang instead of non-drop-crotch KMart sweatpants. But if he's renouncing the garment outright to you, that implies he thinks you are a non-drop-crotch designer sweats kind of girl. We can't have that, obviously. (And for the record, designer sweats are cheap at sample sales.)
Also, this guy sounds like a total phony. You know if he were at home with swine flu he would not be curled up in front of Oprah wearing his Brooks Brothers slacks and his Tucker Blair turquoise polo. Okay, maybe he doesn't wear sweats in this situation, but he probably wears something worse — like a lobster-print thermal onesie from Tucker Blair. If he lies to you about wearing lounging garments, think of what else he could be lying about. One day you might wake up to a text message from him on December 24 that's all, "Sorry, I can't come to Christmas at your parents' house because I forgot this is the weekend of my Fire Island Nudist Club retreat in St. Barts."
Lastly, no one should tell you what to wear, so we'll relay to you this true story: This one time, a lovely girl went to dinner with her significant other and his parents and wore Alex Wang sweatpants, with heels, and other dressy-ish stuff. This being a preppy family, there were comments made that weren't relayed to the lady until later, like, "She wore SWEATPANTS? To DINNER?!" At which point the lady told her man, "Sweatpants are stylish, and get used to them because I'm going to be wearing them all spring. This is how I express myself." And he said, "I love you how you are." And they have relished the awkwardness and irony of the garment — together — ever since. If that's not love, what is?